Join My Hoardes of Followers!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The New Big 12

New Big 12? With all the recent news of powerhouses shifting away from the conference, one would think I would be discussing the new PAC-10 or Big 10. Go to ESPN, everyone will be talking about for weeks, but someone needs to talk about what happens to the Big 12? People seem to be assuming that with all the teams leaving that the conferenc e will cease to exist. That will not happen so easily. Big six conferences take a lot of time and effort to build, just ask the Mountain West and the Big 12 still has too many opportunities to make money and accomplish big things for them to just call it quits because they have run into some trouble now. The commish is as good as fired of course, but the conference won't die without a fight.

Before I go any farther, I should update everyone on what's going on today, as it was a huge day for college football news.

1. Nebraska makes it known they have applied for membership in the Big Ten.
2. Colorado has been formally invited to join the PAC-10
3. The PAC-10 plans to extend the same invitation to Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State soon.
4. Jeremiah Masoli has been dismissed permanently from the Oregon football program.
5. USC has received a two year bowl ban, reduced scholarships, and will likely vacate wins from at least the 2004 season as a result of the Reggie Bush investigation.

Big day huh? That changes almost everything about the landscape of college football after this coming season, with the two biggest programs currently in the PAC-10 being drastically affected by the Masoli kill and bowl ban for USC.

More important is conference landscape change started by Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are an outstanding football program and I see no way that the Big 10 denies them. With the Big 10 still undecided about how many teams they want to add and the SEC not really even having serious discussions yet, I think these 6 teams take off for the PAC-10. Additionally, Missouri is likely to leave as well, as they had been the only team to publicly staste interest until today and are high on the Big 10 wish list.

This leaves the Big 12 as the Big 4: Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State. Three of these teams didn't make bowls last year, the only Big 12 team not on this list to not make a bowl was Colorado. Iowa State, Baylor, and Kansas will almost certainly be the worst teams in the Big 12 this coming season. So why is the Big 12 going to be so keen to stay together? Basketball. Three of these teams were in the Elite Eight last year and Kansas, a persistent top 5 program, likely does not want to hunt for a new conference. All four of these teams have big markets still, and Baylor, while not historically successful, will be the only link to the market in Texas, the Kansas market is also huge.

So who fills the vacant eight spots? That is what this column is about.

There are three qualifications for the teams considered in the new Big 12: market size, athletic success, and geographic and cultural fit. So without further ado here are my eight picks.

1. TCU

The Horned Frogs are a natural fit for the Big 12, specifically since the South has always included exclusively teams from Texas and Oklahoma. TCU has had continuous success this decade in football, will help gain back the Texas market that Baylor can't retain alone. There is nothing there for basketball, but you can't get everything.

2. BYU

BYU has everything a conference would look for: great football program, a good basketball program, prestigious history, and the Salt Lake City market. BYU has been watched by many a conference over the years, and most believed that the PAC-10 would be going after them for expansion. The Cougars are not on the level of OU or UT, but should be a good replacement for say A&M.

3. Utah

See above, but replace A&M with Tech, and because of the rivalry with BYU they would bring at least one big rivalry game to the conference every year right away.


This move is for the basketball benefits. UNLV has a greatly proven basketball program and more importantly for the money seeking Big 12 braintrust, the Las Vegas TV market. Sure the football is a joke, but they will not find any scholls out there with everthing. UNLV's basketball should provide Kansas with some decent competition.

5. Boise State

This move would be just for the football program, if they want to stay an BCS automatic qualifying conference they will have to stock up on the best teams out there. Boise State is the best program from a small conference left. Although BSU is only known for football, they do also have a great track & field program and a great wrestling team. Sure the basketball is a joke, but they can overlook that. The market is small but they would at least grab essentially the entire state of Idaho, it's not much, but it may be enough.

6. Air Force

A decent program in football and a huge, huge, huge market. If Baylor can get into a major conference, Air Force should have no problem at all. No sports powerhouses here, just a chance to grab a big money market, especially with Colorado likely leaving. This should help bring back some of the Denver market.

7. Fresno State

A big market with a lot of history, nothing really prestigious, but a big following gives a market worth grabbing. The football program is solid and could be even better in a big conference.

8. New Mexico

Only here because of their basketball success. Honestly, there are not eight great schools out there to grab. This team could easily be Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah State, or Nevada. Utah State's basketball team has been more consistent than any team from these other school but New Mexico or Colorado State have bigger markets (since Utah State won't bring much with Utah and BYU already in), so consider it a toss-up between these three. I will assume New Mexico because of geographic fit

So the new Big 12 would look like this:

Boise State
Iowa State
Fresno State

Kansas State
New Mexico
Air Force

Do you think this conference would still be relevant? With Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, BYU, New Mexico, and UNLV as successful basketball programs, is the conference still good enough to make Kansas stay?

And with Boise State, TCU, Utah, BYU, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Fresno State as well accomplished football programs, does the conference have enough legitimacy to stay an AQ conference?

These conferences will decide the fate of the Big 12. Of course they could always toss out Fresno State and New Mexico and go with a different 10 team format. Will this be enough to save it? I think it would, as the Mountain West Conference is already being reviewed by the BCS brass for AQ rights. With Boise State, Fresno, and the old Big 12 teams joining the powerhouses already in the MWC, I think that the conference, while still unlikely to be considered as a national title contender when compared heads up against the PAC-10, Big-10, or SEC, should be good enough to qualify for a BCS bowl every year. Especially considering the Big East still gets one every year.

They real question is will the addition of UNLV and BYU as established programs be enough to keep Kansas around. If not, K. State will go with them and the Big 12 will not have enough left to attempt rebuilding and a more likely scenario would be Iowa State and Baylor heading for the Big 10 of downgrading to the MWC.

Only time will tell. Personally, I hope it suceeds, as giving more schools a chance to suceed is always preferred to widening the gap between perks for big and small schools.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rushed Reviews

Okay, so I've been lazy about the blogs, but I have been busy on the reading here are some rushed reviews, without pictures because managing them is just a pain.

Irredemable Ant-Man: #1-12

Hilarious, terrible, and giving you shadows of real human character in between those aspects. There is something here for everyone as the powers and "super-hero" aspects are not very prominent in these series.

Rating. 9.5

Wolverine: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This story just didn't click for me, I know it is the follow up to the popular Enemy of the State storyline, but I don't have that, which I'm sure contributes to my lack of enjoyment of the story as it sets up this entire story. I don't know why Wolverine is trying to avenge this kids death or why it's significant. Also it seems a little strange to me that a pissed off Wolverine is stoked to "try out the new S.H.I.E.L.D. tech." I also have no idea what Gorgons powers are, they are never described and I just guessed on one of them based on it causing his death.

Rating 4.5

Exiles: #64-88

These issues don't hold any real distinctive importance in the 100 issue run of Exiles. They just stuck in my minds as my favorites, featuing stories with Hyperion and Proteus as the main villians. These stories are great because the book is meant to jump dimensions on a whim. This is great because they can do whatever they want with any character and not mess with continuity. We see evil Tony Stark, good Magneto, and earth saving Krakoa. The book also has no problem killing off their teamates, two die off in this run. Nothing here is groundbreaking or epic, but everything is fun and well-written, books that are simply just good comic books for comic fans.

Rating 8.5

Sentry vol. 1 and all associated one-shots.

This is a great concept for a character, a well structured story, and boring as hell. The idea is great, but then eight issues are taken to draw out exactly what it means before all the fighting and action concludes in the final issue. The dialouge is stale and repetative, the art is so-so. Overall it would be a good read if it wasn't one of those books that packs so in so much dialouge that evey issue feels like a story arc. But it is. Too long, too dull.

Rating 3.5 but wait I'm not done with Sentry yet........

New Avengers #7-10: Sentry

This book decides to reintroduce Sentry then decides to make you second guess every single thing we learned in the aforementioned miniseries. It suceeds but implys that everything is different and comes to the same completely illogical conclusion anyways.

Rating 4....... but wait, not done with Sentry yet.

The Sentry vol. 2.

This miniseries, which came out immediately after the New Avengers arc just mentioned, decides to change everything again, but while also telling you everything that you knew before the New Avengers stry was true. It was just as boring, and even more infuriating because of how inconsistent everything with character always seems to be. I didn't even finish it before I got bored and just put it back in my box.

Rating 1

Review: the Sentry as a character.

Everytime a story is written with him as a central character they change everything about his stories and powers, while continuing to write him the same way anyways. This is particularly irritating because only two authors have ever really written him and just don'tt seem to know what they want to do with him. Dark Avengers changes him again later, but I haven;t read that. In summation, Sentry is a great concept but is always poorly managed.

Rating: less than zero.

Thunderbolts: The Warren Ellis run.

These books characterize modern comics and were everything I think Marvel was looking for when they started their Dark Reign story a year later. These books are dark, sick look at characters that are heroes only for their own betterment, combined with true heroes who are forced to work with them. A power struggle takes place everyone tries to screw everyone but have to survive at the same time. Pure evil and chaotic brilliance.

Rating 10

Maximum Carnage

This is the story that got me into comics way back in the day, it has all my favorite spidey villians: Carnage, Demogoblin, and Carrion. Along with Venom in a hero capacity. The story is fine but part thirteen is a little hokey. It also suffers from inconsistant art as do most crossovers, most of the art is good but I didn't care for the work in Unlimited Spider-Man. While I won't count any points against the story for this, it upset me because of the philosophy of the story. Ashley and I recently argued the merits of Mencius vs. Hsun-Tse (for those who aren't aware, this is the debate of human nature being good versus evil), I take Hsun-Tse strongly, and Maximum Carnage takes Mencius. Stupid, but not changing the rating for it.

Rating 7.5

Ultimate Spider-Man: Hobgoblin

Sometimes Bendis irritates me because of his total control of all things crossover and Avengers at Marvel, however, I always love his work on a solo character despite my irritation on his team books. Bendis gets Spider-Man, it's why Ulitmate Spider-Man has been such a big hit. This story is probably my favorite Ulti-Spidey story, you get a great battle that is nothing more than a backdrop for the personal drama between three people who love each other. It is beautifully drawn and perfectly written. Hammer for this one.

Rating 10

Ultimates 2: 1-13

This is my favorite story of all time, after a re-read, it is still my favorite story of all time. Art is beautiful, the story is epic and perfectly written. At some point you understand and feel for every major character on the team. Bendis should take notes.

Rating: eleventy billion

Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill

This story tries way too hard, the art is great, but overall the story jumps around too much and the ending just sucks. This one let me down.

Rating 3

Thats it for now. Because of big shake ups in the college football world today a new blog is assured soon.